WHERE: Omicron has been identified in 57 countries
"It remains unknown what is causing this phenomenon"
The Omicron strain of the coronavirus has been identified in 57 countries, the World Health Organization announced today. In the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Update on Covid-19 "Currently, Omicron cases have been reported in 57 countries in all WHO regions."
Experts point to the fact that the number of coronavirus cases recorded is growing rapidly in southern Africa.
Although "it remains unknown what causes this phenomenon ", may be caused by the spread of Omicron in this region as well as by the increase in diagnostic tests for the presence of coronavirus after this strain was characterized "Anxiety mutation".
WHO underlined that "Preliminary analysis shows that mutations present in the Omicron mutation may reduce the neutralizing activity of antibodies resulting in reduced protection against natural immunity.".
According to the agency, that explains "Because the variant seems to be spreading rapidly in a population with high immunity, such as in South Africa". According to the WHO, more information is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines against the Omicron strain.
"There is a need for more data to assess whether mutations present in the Omicron variant may result in reduced protection against vaccine-induced immunity, as well as data on vaccine efficacy, including the use of additional vaccine doses.", experts say.
It is emphasized that "WHO will continue to work with partners to monitor and evaluate this data as soon as it becomes available". The organization points out reports according to which "The Omicron variant may have an advantage over other variants on the market".
At the same time, experts do not yet know "whether this will translate into increased transmission." Information on the clinical severity of the Omicron variant is also limited. Referring to the 212 infections with this strain that were detected in 18 EU countries, the experts point out that the course of the disease was "Asymptomatic or mild".